The Garden is boring!


How to design a garden if it’s dull & boring:

PlantPlots is a different other garden design websites, in that we try to find solutions to garden problems for ‘normal’ gardens. This article deals with what to do if you have a boring garden. And how to make it a more attractive and interesting place to enjoy.

But there is a paradox!


Definite eye-candy, but not very practical!

This is not a dull and boring garden but neither it is practical or suitable for most gardens.


Umm; it’s ok but it’s a bit boring!

Whereas this garden is practical, low maintenance and usable…but it hardly stops you in your tracks does it?

The paradox, is how can you make a garden less boring without making the garden impractical for you to use.

Identify what isn’t there:

How do we perceive the world, simply by looking at it, clearly not. Humans interact with the environment around us all the time. We see it, taste it, listen to it, touch it and smell it.

If the garden stimulates all of your senses are stimulated, the garden by definition will be more interesting. You will become immersed in the garden and it will be more interesting to you.

So you need to go out into the garden and decide what sensory experience you are missing….


All gardens need at least one focal point to capture your interest. If there isn’t one at all, your eyes find the most visually dominant feature in the garden or the straightest lines however boring dull or ugly they are.

dull garden

To remedy this you need to excite your eyes, so give them something to look at:

  • Plant your borders from the top down see plant for height
  • Use plants that move and sway.
  • Add objects of interest around the garden.
  • Bright colours capture your attention more than pastel ones.
  • Repeat the same colour around the garden so you look around to find it.

Boring Garden Hedges – there are no rules that say hedges have to always be level or straight!

If you only have a small space combine your plants into one really good looking border.

garden golden-ratio

The reds of the plants have been repeated around the garden and again using the table and chairs.


View Plum Pudding Border design or Red Rockets in the shop

Use all the other senses:

Vision is obviously the most important of the senses to consider in a garden but it is closely followed by your nose. Scents evokes powerful feelings and memories. Choose the right smells in the garden and you will be instantly reminded of happy memories of places and or people. Small gardens should be packed with scented plants, these make you stop and linger in a part of the garden. The waft of scent will draw you towards something; all of which maintains your attention and interest.

It makes sense to put the most highly scented plants nearer the house or around you favourite spot.

Choose plants that flower in the winter, to attract the few insects that are flying then, many of them have wonderful perfumes.

Plants that make you go

Similarly touch, and taste are really important. Clearly avoid prickly plants (no matter how ‘architectural’ and ‘in vogue’ they currently are) – no one likes getting spiked, it won’t make your garden more interesting just more unpleasant. If you can wander about the garden and pick a leaf to crush in your fingers or run your hands over a tactile grass – the outside world will seem, for a few moments, very much further away!

Great border planting ideas in our shop

Exciting gardens don’t need to be expensive:

Gardens should make you feel something, garden’s that don’t that are boring. Concentrate on capturing your visual attention in the garden, but then you must include all the other senses as well for you to get the most from the garden. Much of this comes from the plants themselves, by way of textures, scents, flower colours and size – but there is another way to add even more to your garden and it is very very cheap!

When you design a garden you are not creating an isolated place for human enjoyment alone – you need to consider the ecosystem that it will create and the animals that will use it. If you aim to create a balanced ecosystem and use plants that are beneficial to wildlife you add a whole new dimension to the interest in your garden.

Insect friendly flowers are far more natural looking, they have not been subjected to horticultural cross breeding and hybridisation. So they are normally hardy, tough, easy to grow and less prone to bug infestation. You spend less time and effort looking after demanding plants and in many cases these plants are cheaper than the more impressive show stopping (but useless for insects ) hybridised divas you can buy.

Perhaps we are a little biased – but we think there is nothing better than watching bees buzzing in and out of flowers, butterflies flitting about, bats chasing moths and hedgehogs popping in through your hedgehog hole in the fence.

Now clearly we could write a book on garden design that will help you plan even the narrowest of gardens better – which is brilliant because there IS a book to help you

I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain available at Amazon and other online bookstores in eBook and Paperback

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